Summer vacation is fast approaching. Know how I can tell? NASDAQ reports my Valium stock tripled in the last week. Yesss! It will stay high until September. Then it will drop off for a while, only to spike again some time around December 15th.
We’ve weathered another school year, and now it’s time for three months of family togetherness. Twelve long, hot weeks of bored fourth-graders, all night TV marathons, and teenagers sleeping until 11:58, when they’ll roll out of bed directly into their swimsuits to get a jump on that poolside nap. See why I invest in Valium?
The real question on everyone’s minds, of course, is “If I start driving now, can I make it to Buenos Aires before anyone notices I’m missing?”
The answer is, no, you can’t. Alarm bells go off in your kids’ heads when you sneak off to the bathroom, for heaven’s sake! What chance do you have of achieving the kind of perimeter breach necessary to make it to WalMart, let alone the Argentine border?
No, mom, you’re going to have to accept the reality that it’s just you and your offspring from now until Labor Day, or that glorious day when they finally pull the paddy wagon up to your door and haul you off for good, whichever comes first.
Because I’m extremely altruistic, and because I’m still avoiding e-mailing my son’s principal in the hopes that she, like any school administrator with an ounce of survival instinct, will spend the next four days hiding behind the filing cabinet in a drunken stupor (thereby forgetting all about me and my homework-challenged kid) I’ve developed this quiz to help you determine how prepared you are for the next ninety-one days, eleven hours and twenty-eight minutes.
This exhaustively researched questionnaire comes from 22 years of experience with not actually wrapping my loving hands around the throats of four kids who, surrounded by ten thousand DVDs, nine hundred video games, three separate game systems, two computers, five televisions, a million books and magazines, a swimming pool complete with basketball hoop and volleyball net, six bicycles, a couple of skateboards, a dozen pairs of roller blades, and a scooter, can still muster the jaw-dropping audacity to whine that “there’s nothing to do in this stupid house”.
Seriously, I belong in "Ripley’s".
Anyway, good luck with this. Hopefully I’ll remember to put the answers somewhere near the end, although if you’re even taking the test in the first place, it’s probably too late for you already.
1: During summer break, the average teenager requires how much sleep per night?
a) Twenty-six hours.
b) As much as necessary to avoid mowing the lawn the next morning.
c) Ha! Trick question! Teenagers don’t sleep at night. They’re like vampires, locked away in their crypts ‘til sundown and then haunting your house, deflouring the pantry and sucking the refrigerator dry.
2: Immediately after Satan was tossed out of heaven, he did three things: Tempted Eve, opened an insurance company, and…
a) Invented red popsicles, which have such astonishing staining power they are capable of destroying clothes you haven’t even purchased yet.
b) Put into the mind of man the idea that precariously balancing a paper plate on your knees while eating a meal composed of a half-cooked cheeseburger, potato salad and gnats is a fabulous summer activity.
c) Arranged for there to be NO holidays during the month of August, which is fine for Utahns on account of their basically taking off all of July like the camping and boating religious fanatics they are, but which pretty much has the rest of us clawing at our faces and screaming, “School doesn’t start for HOW many more weeks??”
3: Let’s talk family vacations! A road trip with children is totally doable, provided you have which necessary supplies?
a) A gallon of Nyquil and a large funnel.
b) The entire “Dora the Explorer” DVD collection, a half-ton of assorted action figures and stuffed animals, every cracker, gummy treat, cereal bar and juice box Costco sells, books, crayons, neck pillows, diapers, wipes, plastic grocery bags in case of barfing, plastic grocery bags for storing the clothes when the barf misses the other plastic grocery bags, plastic grocery bags for putting over your own head when the rest of it just gets to be too much….
c) An airplane.
4: Everyone is feeling the economic pinch this year, so more and more families are choosing to vacation close to home. Of course, vacationing at home works best when…
a) You live in Disneyland.
b) Your next-door neighbors are Siegfried and Roy.
c) You finally receive your 20% cut promised you by that poor Nigerian princess whose wicked stepmother conspired to have her father assassinated to gain control of his vast wealth and to finally stop having to kiss a fat, stinky political despot full on the mouth, only to banish said poor Nigerian princess to a refugee camp while holding on to the PNP’s passport and inheritance, but thankfully NOT her laptop (which miraculously includes camp-to-camp internet access) thereby enabling her to find YOU out of the billions of e-mail accounts out there and alert you to her plight, from which you gladly rescued her because apparently you have the critical thinking skills of dandruff. So now you’re set.
5: Another favorite vacation option is to travel to a popular destination and stay with friends or family, which allows you to both save money and shorten your Christmas card list. There’s nothing like dropping in on someone for a couple of weeks over the summer to guarantee your having fewer friends come September. I live in Las Vegas, and would be happy to host any of you as long as you bring which essentials?
a) Your own towels. And food. Oh, and bed. Room. Bedroom.
b) Tranquilizer darts for your four year-old, who otherwise keeps trying to ride my golden retriever and insists on piddling in my pool.
c) A map to the strip and the words, “Please, we wouldn’t think of asking you to drive us to a place where, for your trouble, you can enjoy six hours of your kids pestering for eight-dollar-a-pound M&Ms while your shoes melt right into the sidewalk” tattooed on your forehead.
d) Four tickets to “Mystere” and an offer to buy me a very large, very expensive steak.
6: Finally, summer will draw to a close, and it will be time to think about getting back to school. I advise limbering up a little before attempting any cheer kicks or hurkies. Of course, preparing your kids for that big First Day is one of the most important of all summer activities. What will you need most in order to make this run to the start of school a success?
a) A crystal ball. This is very important for determining what shoe and clothing brands all the popular kids will be wearing, what kind of backpack they’ll be sporting, how they’ll be doing their hair, what gum they’ll be chewing, and the direction in which they’ll be rolling their eyes when they see your kid looking every bit as cute but somehow not as cool, thus allowing your child to start the year singing the traditional ‘tween anthem “I Hate My Life And It’s All Your Fault.”
b) Reams of wide ruled paper, wire bound theme books, four dozen pencils and pencil sharpener, black ballpoint pens, yellow highlighters, and two hundred dollars’ worth of three-ring binders designed to look like laptop computers.
c) A thesaurus when the words “Are you freaking KIDDING me??” are not adequate upon discovering that your kids really need college ruled paper, thread bound theme books, mechanical pencils, blue ballpoint pens, pink highlighters, and twelve pocket folders with butterfly fasteners. Cleverly designed three-ring binders are banned this year because a student in Urban Myth, North Dakota supposedly smuggled a fifth of tequila into his middle school inside a binder shaped, ironically, like a fifth of tequila.
d) A fifth of tequila.
So, how’d you do? Ready for summer break? Well, no matter. Between the popsicles and the prescription meds, we’ll all manage to survive, although I fear our houses will be totalled. This kind of time with our families doesn’t come along every year, you know, and we have to make the most of it.
Wait…there was something wrong with that sentence…
Oh, well, I’m not going to worry about it! Instead I’m going to whip up a potato salad, throw a couple of burgers on the barbeque, and join my teenager poolside for a long summer’s nap.
Feel free to join us! Bring your kids! Bring the tequila! Heck, bring the Nigerian princess! Just don’t forget where I live and who my neighbors are. You’ll need your towel and plenty of tranquilizer darts, 'cause Siegfried and Roy’s pets are kind of funny about four year-olds.